EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- Drug dealers had become downright blatant in their marijuana operations here recently, according to charges filed in federal court.
Some of the dealers reportedly pulled up to an East St. Louis mobile home in a flatbed truck last week and dumped 3,000 pounds of marijuana into the yard.
The bundles, each as high as a man's shoulder, were picked up later by others in a rental truck and secured in the basement of a nearby home, according to authorities.
On Friday, police, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office revealed details of the delivery and the arrest of three East St. Louis residents.
In court documents, FBI Agent John Jimenez said the alleged recipient of the marijuana, Desean Conners, 33, confessed, telling authorities that the Mexican suppliers wanted to increase his usual 50-pound supply; he expected a delivery of no more than 700 pounds.
Authorities say the multi-million dollar conspiracy unraveled during a routine traffic stop in St. Louis.
The traffic stop lead federal agents Wednesday to the basement, where they say they found 2,000 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $2 million. It was the largest recent seizure of marijuana in the area, U.S. Attorney Miriam Miquelon said Friday at a news conference.
Conners and two other East St. Louis men, Montrell Wilson, 32, and Montez Wilson, 28, were charged Thursday with conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
A detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in federal court in East St. Louis.
The investigation, which was handled by the FBI and its Metro East Safe Streets Task Force, began after a March 8 traffic stop by a St. Louis Police officer, who found about 45 pounds of marijuana inside the car.
The driver, who authorities would not identify, told the officer a Mexican male driving a white Escalade with Colorado plate had delivered 3,000 pounds of marijuana the day before on a flatbed trailer to a mobile home in East St. Louis.
Federal agents later discovered about 2,000 pounds of the marijuana Tuesday at a "stash house" in East St. Louis where Montrell Wilson lived.